Friday, September 30, 2011
Solar powered homes and businesses across Connecticut, including Middletown, will be open Saturday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m as part of the National Solar Tour. The National Solar Tour is organized by the American Solar Energy Society (www.ases.org) and promoted in Connecticut by Solar Connecticut (www.solarconnecticut.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to building a solar community in the state. Installers, designers, and home and business owners will be on site to answer questions. Visitors can also take this opportunity to learn how to apply for incentives. Visit Solar Connecticut's website for more information, including photographs, locations, and descriptions of each site. Middletown's home owner has posted a particularly welcoming invitation!
The city offered early retirement incentives to employees this year, and as a result there are more retirements than usual. The city budget, created and approved by the Council, assumed a savings of $200,000 from these early retirements.
The rationale behind the resolution is that the city should examine whether there can be some streamlining of government functions, eliminating the need to replace some of the retired workers. The resolution states that this examination should be done by the F&G Commission:
Now, Therefore, Be it resolved by the Common Council of the City of Middletown: That Ordinance 74-9, Filling of Vacancies that do not impact public safety be waived and that no vacant position(s) due to retirement shall be filled until such time as the Finance and Government Operations Commission has had time to review said position as to its effectiveness and efficiency.
There was some initial, pretty academic discussion among Commission members about whether this was the right approach, whether such a resolution should be passed just before an election which would lead to a new Council and F&G Commission.
Gerry Daley cut through the pretense and said what others were hesitant to, the goal of the resolution was to stop the mayor from hiring people right before an election which might bring in a new mayor, "I got a problem with that."
Dr. Randy Goodwin, Section Chief of Infectious Diseases at Middlesex Hospital, is the guest on the next edition of the health-information radio program — Healthline. Dr. Goodwin will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of influenza and how the upcoming flu season may impact you.
Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. On average, 5% to 20% of the American population gets the flu and more than 200,000 are hospitalized from complications. Unlike other other respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people.
Healthline is produced by the Middletown Health Department and can be heard Saturday, October 1, at 3:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 5:15 p.m. on WIHS 104.9 FM and “on-demand” at cnxradio.com.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The church sold their former building, on East Main Street, to a developer who built the new Walgreens Drug Store. With $2M from the developer, the church plans to build a 10,000 square foot building.
At Wednesday's Finance and Government Operations Commission meeting, Chairman Ron Klattenberg explained that the proposal had come before the Public Works Commission, which had declined to forward it to Council for consideration. He explained that he could not support the waiver of fees, "Permit fees are always part of the construction costs." He also said that the Council had recently made a change in policy, to eliminate the waiver of fees.
Joe Bibisi raised the issue of fairness, pointing out that several years ago the church on Cross Street received a waiver of building permit fees. Another Commissioner responded that even the show-mobile fees were no longer being waived for any non-profits.
Phil Pessina joined Bibisi and Hope Kasper in calling for the full Council to hear the fee waiver request by the Shiloh Christian Church.
The Council will consider this at their Monday meeting.
The Water Pollution Control Authority is the oversight board for the Water and Sewer Department. In a September 7th letter, the WPCA called on Council to "investigate the abrupt moving [by Mayor Giuliano] of the Water & Sewer Director, Deputy Director, and the Administrative Aide from the & Sewer Building on Berlin Street to the Municipal Building on deKoven Drive, and Field Supervisor to the Waste Treatment Plant on River Road."
The mayor provided an explanation for his action in a press release two days after the WPCA letter.
The resolution before the Council has been put forward by Majority Leader Tom Serra. It reads in part, "WHEREAS, the majority of the "reasons" offered in the release are facially [sic?] inadequate, raising as they do issues which are years old and which have long since been resolved by the WPCA or the relevant city staff..."
It is not clear from the WPCA letter, or from the proposed Council resolution, whether the investigation would be directed to evaluate the Water and Sewer Department and Giuliano's claim of multiple "danger signs of this department failing", or directed to evaluate the Mayor's office and his authority to make his own evaluation and order the movement of personnel.
I asked Councilman David Bauer, who as a member of WPCA signed the letter requesting an investigation, what the investigation might entail. He said that he would outline what he thought the specific goals of the investigation should be at Monday's Council meeting.
The resolution calls for a report of "findings and recommendations" to be completed on October 31st, one week before the municipal elections.
Kelsey Siegel '13, Visiting Dance Instructor Clyde Evans on Hip Hop, Rennie Harris Puremovement (Sept. 30 & Oct. 1)
Arts Administration Intern Joanna Bourain '12 talks to Kelsey Siegel '13 and Visiting Instructor in Dance Clyde Evans about Rennie Harris Puremovement.
On Friday September 30 and Saturday October 1, Rennie Harris Puremovement, a hip-hop group from Philadelphia, will showcase a performance in the Center for the Arts Theater. The company, started in 1992 by hip hop veteran Rennie Harris, aims to drive hip hop away from its current stereotypes and commercial manifestations and back to its urban street forms through lively performances. I sat down with dance major Kelsey Siegel '13 and Visiting Instructor in Dance Clyde Evans to discuss the importance of this performance.
Kelsey Siegel, a member of Wesleyan’s Fusion hip hop dance group, sat down with me to talk about the significance of this performance. Kelsey explained that in her opinion, “hip hop is an important dance form because its expressiveness and liveliness can portray much more than just a narrative.” She explained to me that Rennie Harris Puremovement is important because the group embeds a social message about hip hop within their dancing that battles stereotypes built up the media. “Hip hop is also a much more accessible dance form that allows for a hybridity of movements, dance styles, and cultures. This fusion of dance styles and culture is evident in Rennie Harris Puremovement’s integration of ballet-like moves, West-African body movements and gymnastic break dance moves. They’ve taken a dance style developed in the street and have brought it into a theater, which allows for the dance form to be considered from a more critical perspective.”
Clyde Evans, Jr. is a Visiting Instructor in the Dance Department and is teaching two hip hop classes this semester. Also from Philadelphia, he was a founding member of Rennie Harris’ company. “This [event] will not only broaden the experience of the traditional theater-goer, it may also inspire or even prompt artists to rethink presentation/choreography of their art.” Evans is excited to have his students see the company, and remembering what it was like to go on tour with the company, he’s also excited for the dancers. “The experience of traveling as a dancer and the well-rounded perspective of the world as seen through the eyes of an artist - it's priceless. It's amazing. It's flying without wings. So my excitement is really for them.”
The company will present repertoire that spans its 20 year history set to music by the Headhunters, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, Parliament Funkadelic, Groove Collective, and others.
Rennie Harris Puremovement
Friday, September 30 & Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 8pm
Pre-performance talk with dance scholar Debra Cash on Friday at 7:15pm in CFA Hall
$23 general public; $19 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students
Rennie Harris will give the Cynthia Novak Lecture entitled "Hip Hop History and Culture: Rage, Resistance and Regeneration" at 7pm on Thursday, September 29 at The Russell House, 350 High Street. There will also be a dance masterclass for intermediate to advanced students on Saturday, October 1 at 11am in the Bessie Schönberg Dance Studio, 247 Pine Street.
On October 1, 2011, from 11 am to 1 pm, the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District and Middletown Regional Agricultural Science and Technology Center are leading a Coginchaug River cleanup at Veterans Park in Middletown. The cleanup is being held in conjunction with the Connecticut River Source to Sea Cleanup (see flyer).
The City of Middletown has generously offered to contribute gloves, bags and other supplies. Additional donations from businesses to help with the cleanup, such as food and drinks for the volunteers, would also be very much appreciated!
See you there, and please pass the word along too!
The Friends of Russell Library monthly book sale will take place this Saturday October 1 from 10 to 4 in the children’s activity room of the library at 123 Broad Street. The sale is open to members of the Friends from 9 to 10. Newer fiction is available along with books in many non-fiction categories: cookbooks, travel books, books on religion, history, home and hobbies, and biographies. Children’s picture books and books for young adults are for sale, and there are many video tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, and books on cassette and CD. All proceeds from the sale go towards library programs and materials.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 26, 2011
CONTACT: Geoff Luxenberg (860) 335-2023
Building Trades Council Endorses Dan Drew for Mayor
Throws support behind Democratic Candidate and Common Council Slate
The Greater Hartford/New Britain Building Trades Council, a coalition of unions representing Connecticut construction workers with many members who live in Middletown, has unanimously endorsed Dan Drew for Mayor of Middletown and the entire slate of Democratic candidates for Common Council.
“As Mayor, I will work every day to make life easier for the middle class,” Drew said. “I’m committed to getting people back to work by improving our infrastructure, which will in turn, reduce the tax burden.”
“Dan Drew and the Democratic Common Council candidates are friends of organized labor,” said Ed Reilly, president of the Building Trades Council and business manager of Ironworkers Local 15. “They will continue their efforts going forward to ensure that organized labor issues are a priority.”
Dan Drew has also been endorsed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, the Working Families Party, the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, SEIU Locals 511 and 506, SEIU 32BJ, Operating Engineers 478, Carpenters Local 24, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 777, the Central Connecticut Labor Council, and CWA Local 1298.
The Democratic Common Council slate includes:
Todd G. Berch, a member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 777;
Mary Bartolotta, a local businesswoman;
Hope Kasper, a former Middletown municipal labor leader;
Tom Serra, a 30-year member of Carpenter Local 24 and a member for 33 years of both American Federation of Adminstrators Local 61 AFL-CIO and American Federation of Teachers;
Bob Santangelo, a member of SEIU District 1199;
Gerald Daley, a state HR administrator;
Grady Faulkner, a forensic accountant; and Ron Klattenberg, a retired utility executive.
To learn more about Drew and his campaign for mayor, please visit www.drew2011.com.
The above is a press release from the Dan Drew for Mayor campaign and it is being published as-is without any edits or commentary. It does not represent the opinions of or any endorsement from the Middletown Eye news blog or any writers who contribute to this blog.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
A better late than never weekend article about this past Sunday’s CROP Walk. Held on the South Green. CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world. CROP was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program as it is under the Church World Service organization.
Local Organizersizer's changed the acronym to Community Response to Overcome Poverty for the event. The walk was organized by Bill Maune and Debra Hopkins, chapter leaders, and honorary co chaired by Mayor Giuliano. This is the second annual CROP Hunger Walk held in Middletown. Giuliano read a proclamation at the opening ceremony of the walk declaring Sept. 25, 2011 CROP Walk for Hunger Day. The organizing committee provided signs, bookmarks, and apples & water for walkers. Ron Krom, director of the local Amazing Grace Food Pantry was in attendance and spoke to the crowd about how funds raised at this event would find their way back to Middletown and help feed local families. Other dignitaries included Representative Matt Lesser (D) (also an honorary committee member), and Common Councilman Phil Pessina (R).
The walk was approximately 3 miles long going from the South Green, north on Main Street to Amazing Grace on Stack Street, and circling back along High Street back to the Green. Local Boy Scout Troop 72 raised funds for the cause and participated in the walk. Earlier this month, Amazing Grace put out a request for donations because the food supply was at an emergency low due to the increase in families needing assistance. This year 25% of the proceeds go directly to support the local efforts of the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen in Middletown with the remainder going to end hunger world wide. To date, the Middletown CROP Walk has raised $456.20 just with its corresponding online campaign. The online campaign is still open for donations ( see link). Update with the final figure to with what was raised at the walk to come!
Find out how you can help St. Vincent DePaul Amazing Grace Food Pantry here
The next event to benefit the pantry is:
Amazing Grace Food Pantry Invites you to the 2011 Amazing Challenge
Thursday, October 13, 2011 from 5:00—7:00 p.m.Fox Parish Center at St. Francis of Assisi Church 10 Elm St. Middletown. In the photo below, Ron Krom (left) speaks about food insecurity to the crowd, pictured are event organizers Bill Maune, and Debra Hopkins. Bottom photo, Troop 72 passes Spear Park. Walkers carried signs with the message "Stop Hunger."
To get involved with the CROP Committee on a local level contact:
Debra Hopkins, 860-346-6757, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Maune, 860-635-6007, email@example.com
Local Sponsors:Young Printing, Doolittle Funeral Home,Our donations came from Bob's Surplus, Home Depot, Stop & shop , Lyman Orchards, Middlesex Fruitery, 99 Restaurant,Wesleyan University, Price Chopper, Main Street Market,Only Natural Market,Royal Capital Management Group,Michael's Restaurant and Lounge
As chairman of the Middletown Republican Town Committee (MTC) in response to the letter Ms. Sundqvist published as an editorial [in the Middletown Press] on September 22, 2011. It essentially accused our current Mayor Sebastian Giuliano of misconduct by supporting Christine Bourne’s primary bid and endorsing Dan Drew as Middletown Press’s candidate for Mayor. Now that the primary is over, I cannot let the rumors that the Press is presenting as truths about the Republican candidates go unchallenged. No reference in the editorial did it state, if in fact it was the opinion of the Press or just Editor Viktoria Sundvist’s personal opinion that alleges such wrong doing by Mayor Giuliano. I must point out to the public that the endorsement written by Sundvist stated no reasons for why the Press was endorsing Drew or state for the public’s knowledge what exactly is his platform, no where was there an outline of his platforms printed by Sundqvist.
Dan Drew states his platform if for job creation, tax reduction and improving education. No where have we read what business Mr. Drew claims he owns in Middletown. If the Middletown Press is whole-heartedly endorsing this candidate, why were these key points not outlined in the endorsement? We need to remember that the Democratic Party at this time has the majority on the Common Council that sets the budget; if the budget is too high; this is a direct result of the work of the democratically controlled Council. It was noted in the Press’s endorsement that Ms. Bourne and the city have lawsuits against the BOE but at the same time, it is not mentioned that the BOE is also suing the City of Middletown. Let’s not forget who initiated the very first lawsuit , the Board of Education filed it against the City of Middletown.
This endorsement lacks any journalistic motivation on the part of the Press and head editor Ms. Sundqvist to provide real facts to the public. Ms. Sundvist’s only accomplishment with this piece of fictitious writing is that she has proven herself adept at trolling Facebook and plucking comments out of context at whim. Sundqvist insinuates about scandalous friendships between opposing party professionals, private citizens, and city employees as well as their kin because of handshakes, smiles or tidbits of candor on Facebook and turn it into fodder to fire at those who disagree with her golden calf, Dan Drew. Where is it in the City charter that states once elected, these officials would have to remove themselves from friendships and kin that they have know prior to the election if they are not in the same party . I could insinuate a lot about Sundqvist from her blind devotion and biased writing and her relationship with the Democrats, but I will not. The sad part is that Ms. Sundqvist could have corroborated her story with simple phone calls to verify facts; however, adding to the surmounting evidence that the Press does sloppy and biased journalism that they are selling to the public as fair and balanced news, as many MRTC members have fund, it’s very difficult to get coverage from that Press that requires even minimal effort and writing ability. The Press has a decidedly biased view of politics in Middletown and the public should be aware when reading the Press that they are reading only one side of the story. The “Middletown reporter” for the “Middletown” Press is always on vacation. A rename of the “Occasionally Half of Middletown Press is in order.
It is noticeable to everyone that reporters from the Middletown Press only sporadically attend public meetings, stay for the first ten minutes and the misquote a few people of their choosing and head for the door. Where was the Press Reporter when Chairman Raczka called for a recess and then pulled the TV feed on Ed McKeon while he was speaking at the BOE meeting a week ago? Drew’s endorsement by Working Families stayed up for 5 days on the Press’s website, yet in that time I know for a fact that MRTC members sent letters to the Editor about issues concerning them and none were published or even acknowledge. Council 4 AFSCME endorsed Mayor Giuliano and this received no front page coverage. The MRTC has found that often in the comment section of the online version of the Press, although comments are supposedly “screened”, sexist and derogatory comments against citizen members particularly those opposing the Democratic view allowed to remain for hours. If there is a time gab between when comments are sent for “approval” and posted, why then should the Press allow these vicious comments even for a second?
Want to know some truths about our Mayor you will never read about in our local paper that carries our city’s name. Here are some of what has been accomplished under Giuliano’s administration because of HIS leadership.
moving forward on joining the Mattabassett District which will open our riverfront. The possibilities will be endless.
the finishing of the state of the art High School.
the army training center on industrial park road; best use of that parcel and managed to keep some park space.
the expansion of the community health center and an anchor to the Northend
the Mellili parking lot expansion and upgrading
building a new senior & community center for our seniors.
Bottom line, the public needs to know that when they read the Middletown Press,
are reading one view point, one that which patronizes the local Democrats and rarely bothers to even shed light on views that differ from this. Print subscriptions should be discounted by 50% because the Press, led by Ms. Sundqvist is selling half-truths as news. An editorial is protected under freedom of speech; however an editorial written with lies and allegations is slanderous, and misleading to those who rely on journalists to be accurate. Ms. Sundqvist is allowed her opinion, as I am mine, however we as a community should expect a higher level of journalism from those in the profession. If the Press wants to be biased, fine, just call it a tabloid or novella, and stop misleading the community into thinking they are reading and purchasing a newspaper.
I encourage everyone who wants to hear the many view points of Middletown and get accurately quoted and researched news to read the Middletown Eye Blog, The Middletown Patch, or the Hartford Courant, and skip the Middletown Press and its so called professionalism.
If this letter to the same Editor I am criticizing even makes it to print, it is a step in admitting there is a problem with the Press and that’s at least a start. To find out more about viewpoints and accomplishments of all the MRTC endorsed candidates see our website or come by headquarters and meet us, we are here to serve.
Sincerely, Matt Scarrozzo
Chairman, Middletown Republican Town Committee
Commentary above is a letter of opinion authored by Chairman of the Middletown Republican Town Committee Matt Scarrozzo. It is his opinion only, and does not represent the opinion of The Middletown Eye news blog, the poster of this letter, or any other contributors of the Middletown Eye blog.
The Majestic Oak subdivision has just been withdrawn due to a technical issue.
Because the property includes land in Durham we need to wait for a report from Midstate Regional Planning Agency and because of the amount of controversy anticipated and the change in the Commission in November the Commission would most likely exceed statutory deadlines for decision making.
This property was the subject of extensive negotiations between Connecticut Light and Power, Durham, Middlefield, and Middletown over the route of a high-voltage power line. CL&P proposed, and ultimately built the "Royal Oak bypass" to keep the power line from passing through an existing subdivision.
In testimony to the Connecticut Siting Council, which has jurisdiction over power lines, the Wilsons argued that the line should go through the Royal Oak residential neighborhood, where a CL&P right of way already existed. They pointed to wetlands protection as one of the reasons for avoiding their property, "The Wilson subdivision plan submitted to the town of Middletown contains conservation easements to protect the wetlands on the Wilson Parcel, wetlands which would be bisected and adversely impacted by employing the Royal Oak Bypass." They also expressed concerns over the Line of Sight which provides views of Hartford and Powder Ridge, "Any transmission lines and poles placed in the Royal Oak Bypass on the Wilson parcel would negatively impact this line of sight, and thus, would have a significant negative impact upon the aesthetics of the proposed development and community."
The Wilsons threatened to sue the three municipalities if the power line disrupted their "luxury home subdivision". According to an article by Josh Kovner in the Hartford Courant on May 23, 2006, the Wilsons succeeded in forcing the Connecticut Siting Council to move the power line from the center of their property to its very southern border, adjacent to the existing Royal Oak development in Durham.
The couple in spring 2005 obtained permission from the city to build 25 houses on their land, a planned subdivision worth, by the couple's estimate, $35 million. In their notice of intent to sue, they say the proposed route would "run right into the Wilsons' subdivision of future Middletown families."
Ralph Wilson was Mayor Sebastian Giuliano's chief fundraiser during Giuliano's campaign against Mayor Domenique Thornton last year, and Giuliano, a lawyer, represented the Wilsons during the early portion of their fight with the siting council.
In the agreement on a route the Wilsons and CL&P reached in February, the 345-kilovolt lines, on poles 100 to 190 feet high, would hug the southern border of the Wilson property, leaving the rest open for development.
The deal stunned the adjoining Royal Oak homeowners.
The Royal Oak homeowners in turn appealed to the Siting Council, and in a decision hailed by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the power lines were moved away from the border of the property.
The subdivision plan that was approved in 2004 does not take into account the new power line, it would presumably need to be significantly altered, with likely review by Inland Wetlands and Planning and Zoning. The new plan, with an increased number of houses, was approved by Inland Wetlands at their September 7th meeting.
Planning and Zoning will consider the application tonight, at 7PM in Council Chambers.
Somewhere in the rich, fertile musical garden tilled by Darrell Scott, Ron Sexsmith and Ryan Adams, grows an obscure bloom named Chris Castle; a tunesmith of almost scary vision, narrative acumen and hooky instinct. Writing songs is utterly programmed into his DNA. He’d write songs even if he thought he didn’t want to.
- Rick Koster (The Day – New London, CT)
The Womack Family Band
It’s rare find. A quintet of twenty somethings, gathered ’round an Ella Fitzgerald record in a dimly lit room that smells of coffee and Nag Champa incense. Each one drawing a different piece of inspiration from the sounds popping off the vinyl, and each holding a record of their own, patiently waiting their turn to hear whatever gem they happened to grab on this particular night.
So goes a usual evening at the Womack house. The rest of the group’s time is spent rehearsing, recording new material, and performing more than 150 dates per year.
The Womacks are currently recording their new EP and backing Chris Castle on his trip to Levon Helm Studios. They’ll set out on the Drenched Earth Tour again in September, promoting their latest work as well as Castle’s Of God & Man (Beneath the Sun).
A 32 house subdivision on South Main Street is being considered at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting tonight (7PM, Council Chambers). The development, on the border with Durham, is being proposed by Linda D. Wilson and South Main Street Irrevocable Trust (owned by Ralph and Linda Wilson).
The proposal is being considered under the city's "clustered open space" regulations. These provide developers an incentive to develop a site plan which preserves a significant portion of the land as open space. The incentive is that the developer is allowed to build houses considerably closer together (clustered), and build more houses than would be permitted with a "standard" development.
The clustered open space zoning text has a number of technical requirements and aesthetic recommendations. The developer is asked to consider:
All of the information relating to the application is available on the Planning Department Website:
- Eliminating constant front yard setbacks to avoid monotony, provide for a variegated character of the neighborhood.
- Providing for scenic vista protection
- The provision of common driveways to reduce the amount of required site clearanceand regrading
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Staff Comments
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Subdivision Coversheet
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Existing Site Conditions Part 1
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Proposed Subdivision Part 1
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Proposed Subdivision Part 2
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Proposed Landscaping Part 1
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Proposed Landscaping Part 2
6.1- South Main Street- Majestic Oaks Estates Subdivision- Conventiional Subdivision Concept (Not Proposed)
6.1- South Main Street- Approved 2004 Majesic Oaks Subdivision- 25 Lots
The accompanying figure shows the proposed subdivision. I have colored in the house and garage (red), the driveway and road (grey), the wetlands (green), the detention ponds (blue), and the proposed open space (light green).
Planning and Zoning meets at 7:00, this application is the subject of a public hearing.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Highly pressurized natural gas was used to purge pipes at the under-construction plant on River Road. It ignited, and the explosion was felt dozens of miles away. The National Fire Protection Association, a non-profit which provides codes and standards on fire risk, investigated how the ‘gas blow’ was conducted. “What we learned was there really wasn’t a standard for this operation” said Jim Shannon, the NFPA’s president.
The new NFPA standard says flammable gas should not be used to clear pipes of debris. “This is a clear message to the industry that gas blows are inherently unsafe”, said Chemical Safety Board chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso. Other options, such as compressed air or inert nitrogen gas are available.“The tragedy at Kleen Energy was preventable.”
The state of Connecticut has since outlawed the use of flammable gas in such operations, but it is the only state to do so. Congressman Joe Courtney said “As a nation we are shifting towards natural gas”, so it is important that a national standard is set.
Courtney and DeLauro worked with the NFPA to have the standard written and released quickly. The standard does not have the force of law, but NFPA says their standards are often referenced or adapted as laws. Shannon said industry and manufacturers are already citing the standard.
In answer to questions about ultimate accountability for the blast, Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said civil and criminal investigations were still ongoing, and evidence was still being held.
Also in attendance at the city hall press conference were State Representatives Matt Lesser and Joe Serra, and State Senator Paul R. Doyle.
The six men killed were: Raymond Dobratz Jr., 58, Old Saybrook; Peter C. Chepulis, 48, Thomaston; Ronald Crabb, 42, Colchester; Chris Walters, 48, Florissant, Mo; Roy Rushton, Hamilton, Ontario; and Kenneth Haskell, 37, Durham, N.H.
City Hall Council Chamber, 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 8
South Fire District, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Friday, October 21
AME Zion Church, 9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday, November 30
Westfield Fire, Middletown, 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday, December 14
South Fire District, 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Monday, September 26, 2011
I wrote a letter to the Press & Eye about a month ago stating how I will not let fear of retribution keep me from doing what is right for Middletown. Please read below as a part II to that article.
I purposely wanted to wait to state my qualifications as a Planning and Zoning candidate and the issues important to me, which if elected I will address. I am an architectural designer and job captain at an architectural firm in New Haven specializing in HUD /CHFA supportive and affordable housing as well as historic preservation / renovation.
I have a bachelors as well as masters degree in architecture. This education allowed me to study many of the same areas he or she would learn about if were getting a degree in urban planning. I am currently sitting for my architecture licensing exams.
I am LEED GA, and am an advocate for sustainable building practices. I believe everyone deserves a safe place to live, it is a basic human necessity and should be a right, not a privilege. Although currently employed, I know what it is like to have no job as I had been laid off recently and had to rely on unemployment to pay bills.
If elected, I hope to preserve open space in Middletown, work on a plan to develop the riverfront that engages residents in a dedicated public space, and bring the right kind of development to the riverfront area that will make Middletown thrive. To achieve what is best for Middletown, I feel we need to closely examine our zoning and find out where we can afford to make changes to allow for business, and where once and for all we need to take a stance and keep certain areas strictly residential.
I believe Newfield Street needs a lot of attention, and I want to address this area. I want to preserve the nostalgia and vitality of Main Street, but also help spread that vitality to other parts of town. I want to encourage new businesses to come to Middletown and current businesses to stay here and employ our residents.
This is the only way to keep Middletown economically sound for all residents. Everyone should know that Middletown is open for business, with people ready to work. Growth starts at home!
I am a member of the Historic Preservation and Design Review Board of the City of Middletown. My goal is to open people's minds and to challenge preconceived ideas so that Middletown can grow.
I will use my training and experience in sustainable/green building knowledge to bring new ideas to the city. In planning the riverfront, those involved need to think about how the decisions made today will impact those who inherit Middletown in the future — we have to plan in accordance with being good to the environment and doing things that do not harm out natural resources and use energy efficiently.
We only get one shot to plan the riverfront and undo some of the damage that the highway has caused to downtown. Middletown needs to be at the forefront and ready to accommodate changing modes of transportation as we as a country become less single-occupant automobile-dependent. If we plan and are willing to accept the changes that need to happen, Middletown can be a leader and epicenter for light rail and bus lines that I am convinced, will one day be prevalent in Connecticut. The only way the economy of the country can improve is if towns and city's like ours embrace, thru planning our city and proper zoning, new technology based on the growing the need to restructure our infrastructures to be based on sustainable energy rather than those dependence on fossil fuels. These changes implemented on a local level will create jobs.
After this winter, and hurricane Irene, we learned valuable lessons that call for having emergency lighting that does not rely on electricity; our plans for Middletown need to include alternative energy sources, and better plans to maintain Middletown’s infrastructures during crises. There are areas of the city, such as Saybrook Road and Laurel Grove Road, that desperately need road work, and if we keep putting it off it will cost Middletown greatly in the long run.
These are among many issues important to me, and this is only the beginning.
I hope to have your support and your vote. I look forward to seeing you at the polls! Please know, my door is always open. If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roger Williams University, R.I.
Master of Architecture, 2007
BS Architecture, Dual Minor in Visual Arts and Art History
Member of the American Institute of Architecture Students at RWU 2005-2006,
Chapter President of AIAS 2005-2006
Represented AIAS during the 2006 National Council of Architectural Registration Boards accreditation of Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture
Certifications, Honors and Awards
Alpha Rho Chi Medal Recipient
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Associate-certified,
Member of the Historic Design Review Board of the City of Middletown
Member Kiwanis of Middletown
Saturday, September 24, 2011
On Saturday, September 24 the people of Middletown, Connecticut are being asked to leave their cars at home and walk, bike, board or take public transportation in conjunction with millions around the world and be part of the voice responding to climate change. Participants are encouraged to wear blue for our blue planet.
As the community conducts their errands and activities on that day they are invited to Middletown’s Moving Planet celebration hosted at the Church of the Holy Trinity (381 Main Street) from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
AT 11:00 am City Council member Bob Santagelo, one of the committee cochairs, will read the Mayoral proclamation followed by a talk about climate change by Professor of Physics Brian Stewart Wesleyan University. Also at this time will be a group picture with event attendees holding a Moving Planet banner. Additionally a preview of the ARTFARMS’s Circus for a Fragile Planet SUBMERGED!
Visitors will also be able to:
• Receive bike safety instruction
• Benefit from the knowledge of a Pedal Power bike repair technician
• See a preview of ARTFARMS’s SUBMERGED! at 11am and 1pm
• Walk the Moving Meditation exhibit with contemplative quotes on climate change
• Learn about the environmental impact on developing nations at the One World House
• Discover what some Middletown organizations, such as Middlesex Community College and, Wesleyan University, are doing to reduce fossil fuel use
• Enjoy a light lunch and other refreshments.
The One World House is an exhibit of a full-size 8-foot square wood and sheet metal model of a house typical in many rural communities in underdeveloped
countries. At this installation, visitors will be able to read about the problems these countries are already experiencing because of climate change.
ARTFARM’s Circus for a Fragile Planet SUBMERGED! is a unique combination of circus and science, which uses the spectacle of circus to address environmental issues around water. The hourlong performance at 7:30pm that evening has a cast of five professional circus artists and connects individual actions and habits to local and global environmental crises, and challenges the audience to take responsibility. For more information visit www.art-farm.org.
What is Moving Planet and 350.org?
Moving Planet is a global day of action to move beyond fossil fuels, sponsored by the Sierra Club with 350.org and others on September 24, 2011. 350.org is an international campaign dedicated to the climate solutions that science and justice demand. 350 is named after the goal of reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from its current level of 390 parts per million to below 350 parts per million, the safe upper limit according to leading scientists.
Event supported by: ARTFARM, Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University, City of Middletown, Church of the Holy Trinity, Jonah Center for Earth and Art, Middlesex Community College, New Haven/León Sister City Project, Pedal Power, The Rockfall Foundation, St. Pius Roman Catholic Church and South Congregational Church UCC.
A state rally will take place in New Haven from 4-8. For more details visit the attached link http://350ct.org/move/schedule/
Hope you can join us and many others across the state.
The event will include a short program moderated by Joseph J. Vinci, Jr. and will feature the presentation of a Proclamation from the City of Middletown by Mayor Sebastian Giuliano. State Representative Joe Serra, State Sen. Paul Doyle, State Sen. Len Suzio, and other state and local dignitaries and candidates for office from each political party will be recognized. Tickets are $60 each and are available at the law office of Attorney Milardo (860-347-4686), or from Lou Aresco, President of the IACO, or at the IACO club hall at 550 Arbutus Street in Middletown. Reservations are required.
The IACO is a nonpolitical organization. It was formed in 1961 and some of the purposes for its formation, as stated in its By-Laws, include giving primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than to the material values of life; encouraging in our daily lives the golden rule in all human relationships; promoting the adoption and the appreciation of higher social, business and professional standards, developing by precept and example a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship; providing a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render true service and to build a better community; cooperating in creating and maintaining sound public opinion and higher idealism to make possible an increase in righteousness, justice, patriotism and good will among all mankind.
The IACO sponsors monthly dinners and cultural events at its building on Arbutus Street for its members and friends. It is assisted in its endeavors by its Ladies Auxiliary.
To the editor:
Vested taxpayers of the South Fire District of the City of Middletown remain very concerned with the surprising and most recent developments relative to CVH Fire Department services at the CVH campus . There has been discussion that the South Fire District (SFD) taxpayers will have to pay for overtime expenses associated with new backup coverage at the SFD headquarters. Also, it was recently confirmed that staff and fire apparatus resources funded by the SFD taxpayers have been stationed on the CVH campus.
Additionally there was mention of an 'agreement' involving CVH and the South Fire District. The first question is by whom and under what authority? If in error I stand corrected but I believe that the CT CGS/Fire Codes are very clear in that the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for fire safety compliance matters at CVH State of CT property and buildings would be the CT Office of State Fire Marshall (OSFM), and not the South Fire District.
At the September 12, 2011 monthly meeting of the South Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners (see web page with meeting notices and minutes, digital recordings of meetings are also available, as posted minutes are only summaries of meetings) it was presented that the district had reassigned a primary fire apparatus and significant staff to be located on the Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) campus on a 'trial basis'. Such a trial was further represented as more an evaluation of SFD response time throughout the district and less associated with the significant change in services being provided at CVH.
At this same meeting it was shared that a legal opinion of such actions was to be obtained via counsel retained by the SFD once a recently developed conflict of interest question could be resolved relative to said legal representation.
In recent conversation with the SFD Chief it was confirmed that a written agreement is nonexistent. It has also been confirmed that the SFD has requested upgrades of the fire headquarters building located on the CVH campus, using CVH funding. Such an accommodation would suggest a more permanent arrangement.
There have been questions raised by the public at the SFD monthly meetings, for some time, relative to PILOT funding administration. Other possible and related issues may also fall under purview of CT DOL (different union firefighter locals), TJC (Environment of Care accreditation patient safety /physical environment performance standards), CT DPH (Buildings and Fire Safety/mixed campus occupancies/licensure), as well as CT OPM and the CT State Auditors which it seems both would have an interest in allocations of public funds as well as compliance matters associated with of the original CGS based Charter for the SFD.
The SFD fixed budget is set via an annual budget process that identifies district expenses and is voted on via a referendum. Minimally, it seems that the opportunity for public hearings and mandated voting would have been provided for the some 7000 registered voters / residents of the south fire district, relative to such new and significant operational matters.
Most concerning is that new overtime cost and the expenses incurred relative to relocating a critical fire vehicle with SFD staffing to the CVH campus has been placed directly on the backs of the SFD taxpayers. One may also question how daily firefighter task at the SFD headquarters are being completed with staff being pulled. The SFD includes a significant population of seniors who live on fixed incomes as well as a good number of small business ventures.
Additionally, with the new practice of locating a SFD vehicle on the remote CVH campus, travel distance for this SFD vehicle responding from the CVH campus to a good number of SFD residential locations has more than doubled, presenting new fire safety/response time concerns as well as homeowner and insurance rate questions.
The challenge for the State of CT / DMHAS/ CVH Administration, is to work with the designated labor groups on the CVH campus and creatively utilize existing resources to provide the necessary services needed to assure that both staff and client safety in such a specialized behavioral health driven environment are best maintained, especially as such relates to TJC accreditation and CT DPH licensure. It seems that the SFD should only be involved on a cost effective strict MUTUAL AIDE basis, as is common practice throughout the State and with other fire services within Middletown as well as in nearby towns. The CVH also has the unique long established practice of having volunteer fire services integrated in its existing campus operations. From a cost effectiveness perspective, it is critical that CVH maintain such operational flexibility. CVH is equally well positioned to handle most of its own emergency calls, which are medical in nature, with the presence of highly skilled, behavioral health focused, medical and support staff on site.
There are a good number of retired and working professionals in our SFD community with extensive experience in such patient/staff fire safety, compliance, operational and public policy matters (hospitals facility/engineering professionals , TJC accreditation /DPH licensure compliance, retired SFD Fire Commissioners, retired State Firefighters etc.), driven by a focus to control taxes in our district, whom I'm sure would volunteer their time to bring forward creative ideas that would focus on enhanced and cost effective opportunities for improvement of CVH Fire Department Services.
A CVH organized review committee that also includes such technical content experts, from the public/community, would be a good starting point and certainly in the best interest of the South Fire District taxpayers.
Daniel J. Penney
Commentary above is a letter of opinion authored by Middletown resident Daniel Penney. It is his opinion only, and does not represent the opinion of The Middletown Eye news blog, the poster of this letter, or any other contributors of the Middletown Eye blog.